I find it interesting to uncover what people imagine when I tell them I am writing about the body for a month. Most people assume I'm talking about body image and health and weight. Or there is another large percentage (including my husband) who automatically assume it's about sex. While those have definitely turned out to be part of this whole thing, what I assumed i meant when I started was a whole-body exploration - what it looks like for me to love and live from this body in this life:
>>How can I move in ways that feel enlivening; and what feels most restful?
>>How do i experience the world through my body - from the information my five senses offer my brain, to the complex world of emotion that also resides squarely in my body?
>>How is my body beautiful? strong? truth-telling? sacred?
>>How is the beautiful, strong, truth-telling, sacred world around me engaged through this body, in this moment, in this space?
I have engaged those questions and many more this last month, throughout the course of reading Tara Owens's book, Embracing the Body, and instagramming my way through photos and quotes related to my explorations.
But my writing here dropped off after approximately the fifth day of the month, and I never regained my footing. It feels a bit like a fail (especially with the linkup I'd promised halfway through the month, never readdressed as the day came and went. For those of you who had intended to participate, I'm sorry. I hope you still posted in your own spaces, and I'm hopeful that I'll figure out the whole linkup thing by next JUNEfeast - ha. I'm a slow mover).
But in a hundred ways, this month's worth of contemplating and attempting to connect with my body - and the world and God through my body - was an incredible win.
*I went to my very first yoga class, and as I posed there, trembling in each position that looked so easy before, I was present to God in my body in new ways. In my shaky, uncertain weakness, and in the moments of noticing strength and balance.
*I read Embracing the Body: Finding God in our Flesh and Bone, and engaged with the "Touch Points" she places at the end of each chapter. These were so helpful at actually getting me to be present in and to my body, to bless it, to notice what I am wanting, to journal through my history with my body.
*We rescued, nurtured, and said goodbye to two kittens. Milk in an eyedropper and holding and petting them were all very embodied acts I'd never have noticed (and maybe never have done - i am not exactly an "animal person", historically).
*We purged and minimized and organized our house, letting go of the unnecessary to make space for our souls to expand (between The Epic Summer Cleanout of 2015 and the Great Kitten Rescue, it may help to explain my less-than-presence on the blog here. I was quite caught up in the movement of my body through these nurturings and goodbyes).
*I tasted and smelled and touched and heard and saw more of the world and more of myself.
And I find at the end of this month, though it has not felt particularly groundbreaking in the midst of it, something has been moving under the surface: I like my body more than when I started. That was unexpected, actually, and I am still surprised at the way feeling in-my-body has been feeling so right. The ways I am able to see my body as unique and ME and not "wrong". I went shopping with a friend today, and really truly enjoyed trying on all the different colors and textures and shapes, and I came home with more than usual YESes.
Don't get me wrong - I don't like all of me all of the time. There are simply moments and glimpses into the glory, amongst a lot of habitual shame responses. But it is movement, and it is good.
My spiritual director confessed to me halfway through the month that she hoped this "month" of the body would turn into a much more lengthy process. And so it has, and is, and will. And this good body will be putting fingerprint-to-letter-key to write about the body as much as I can.
>> I hope you'll continue your own journey with your so-good body, too, and I would love to see and hear about what you discovered in June, or whatever body-things you are currently walking through! Tag me on Facebook, Instagram (@therustyartichoke), or Twitter (@rustyartichoke), or leave me a comment here! Thanks for being-with.